AN EMERGENCY Cobra meeting will be convened in Downing Street today amid dire warnings that Omicron will trigger a “tsunami of infections”.
Top Minister Michael Gove will gather Nicola Sturgeon and other devolved leaders this afternoon to thrash out an urgent Covid battle plan.
No10 is scrambling to stave off a winter surge and is begging Brits to get their boosters as The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign marshals its recruits.
It came after the Scottish First Minister tightened rules to stem the spread of the mutation ripping across Britain – blowing a hole in hopes of a normal Christmas.
In a grim warning she said: “To be blunt, because of the much greater and faster transmissibility of this new variant, we may be facing – indeed we may be starting to experience – a potential tsunami of infections.”
In key Covid developments:
- Fears grew that the Government would pull the trigger on “Plan C” restrictions
- The fist Omicron case was confirmed at an English primary school in Kent
- Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak both canned their Christmas parties
- But No10 insisted people shouldn’t cancel THEIR festive bashes
- Plan B rules descended into farce as people were told they could work from the pub – but not the office
- The PM faces a massive rebellion against his plans to introduce vaccine passports
- Mr Johnson is taking a few days off after the birth of his daughter
At a gloomy press conference Ms Sturgeon announced entire households of close contacts would have to isolate even if they haven’t got Covid.
Along with Wales’ Mark Drakeford and Northern Ireland’s Paul Givan she requested a Cobra meeting and more Covid cash last month was but refused.
Westminster’s decision to convene the meeting comes after Omicron started spreading like wildfire.
Scientists think there could be as many as 10,000 cases of Omicron – which has a doubling rate of every 2.5 to three days.
Ms Sturgeon also refused to rule out more restrictions, sparking fears that England could be slapped with new measures stretching beyond Plan B ahead of Christmas.
Downing Street today said there were “no plans” to go harder than restrictions announced on Wednesday for mandatory masks, working from home and vaccine passports.
The PM’s spokesman said: “Obviously we need to keep the characteristics of this variant under review, and we would act if necessary, but there’s no plans to go beyond what we set out.”
He added: “As a responsible Government, of course, you would expect us to… we have an array, already, of options available to us in terms of what measures we can take to mitigate a growth of any variant or virus.
“But there are no plans to go beyond that currently.”
The Government is even still officially urging people to press ahead with festive parties and school nativities despite the squeeze.
But both the PM and Chancellor sowed confusion by cancelling their Christmas bashes.
No10 said: “We do not think there is a need to cancel people coming together in hospitality venues like that.”
The spokesman added it was “down to individuals” to make a decision whether to pull the plug or not.
Mr Johnson cancelled his Christmas party as he also faces swirling questions of multiple Downing St bashes last year when rules forbade gatherings.
Business Minister Paul Scully today admitted Britain is facing a “difficult few weeks” with Omicron.
He said: “None of us feel comfortable having to restrict people’s freedoms.
“But we do have a difficult situation to get through over the next few weeks.
“This is a proportionate amount of measures to give us the breathing space to work out what’s happening with the Omicron variant.”